The Council of Australian Tour Operators inaugural Crisis Management Forum was a full day forum held in Sydney in March 2016 and attended by over 80 tour operators, wholesalers and travel agents. Attendees heard from a range of crisis management experts including the head of the DFAT crisis response team and the safety managers of Qantas and Sydney Airport.
There was also a panel discussion of members that allowed attendees to learn from first hand experiences of CATO members in dealing with a variety of issues. The panel included Wildlife Safari md Trevor Fernandes, who was in Kenya during several events including post-election violence in 2007 and the Westgate Plaza shootings in 2013.
Key take-outs included the importance of having a crisis management plan and clearly defined roles for key personnel; the importance of having a senior member of the operations team on the ground as soon as possible after an incident; and the importance of relying on contacts on the ground rather than just sensationalised media reports.
From left: David Beirman of UTS; Rose Romeo from the Qantas Group Business Resilience department; CATO chairman Dennis Bunnik; and Kirsty McNeill, DFAT’s director of crisis management and contingency planning.